Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
- Allan Hunter
- 17 September 2010
There is something comfortingly old school about Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. It has all the fancy moves, dazzling montage sequences and polish of a classic Hollywood melodrama. This could be one of those pressure-cooker boardroom films from the Eisenhower era like Executive Suite, A Woman’s World or The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit. Glamorous New York locations and sharp designer clothes testify to a world of conspicuous consumption where ‘greed is good’ is no longer one man’s mantra but a generation’s way of life. Just for sheer, slick professionalism it is irresistible.
Stone’s 1987 original was one of the defining movies of the Reagan era that won a Best Actor Oscar for Michael Douglas. The sequel is unlikely to match that legacy but is an honourable continuation of the Gordon Gekko story even if the impact is dulled by the notion that the global economic meltdown was also a terrible inconvenience for the growing romance between Gekko’s estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan) and her market trader boyfriend Jake (an impressive Shia LaBeouf). It isn’t meant to be a documentary after all.
The film begins with Gekko released from prison after serving his sentence for insider trading. His possessions include a mobile phone the size of the Empire State Building. How times have changed. There is a good deal of fun in discovering if the wily old leopard has really changed his spots as he publishes Is Greed Good? and warns of an impending catastrophe in the American financial system. Is he really humbled by his fall from grace? Has a topsy turvy America transformed him into the one voice of sanity in a Wall Street where folly rules unopposed?
Douglas is as charismatic as ever and is surrounded by a sturdy A-list ensemble that includes Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, 94 year-old veteran Eli Wallach and Frank Langella as the quiet voice of integrity in a world where everyone is too busy making money to realise that the economy is blindly drifting towards an iceberg. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a class act.
General release, Wed 6 Oct.